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The Amazon Influencer Program: A Lucrative Approach To Influencer Marketing
photo credit: @celeste_wright on IG
In 2020, ecommerce’s percent of total retail sales shot up more than 25%, as consumers turned to online shopping during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many brick and mortar stores. Even though that percentage has dropped slightly in 2021, ecommerce is still projected to increase steadily through 2025.
And the leading U.S. online retailer is Amazon, which delivered almost $386 billion in net sales in 2020 and welcomed nearly 2.45 billion people this past June—far exceeding visits to other top ecommerce sites like eBay and Walmart.
But with more than 350 million products listed on Amazon, it’s extremely difficult to compete for attention. The Amazon SEO algorithm—like Google’s—is keyword-driven and scans product pages to see if the images and descriptions match what people are looking for when they do a product search.
But Amazon goes a step further in determining its rankings. It favors those products with historically good sales figures. It’s not enough to know how to optimize your content. You also have to be a top Amazon seller if you expect your product to show up early in the search results.
So how can brands hope to compete against 9.7 million Amazon sellers? Increasingly, they depend on Amazon Influencers to drive sales of their products.
What Is The Amazon Influencer Program?
Amazon’s Affiliate Program allows anyone who publishes content to earn a commission when visitors to their blog or social media account purchase products they recommend. There are two ways to earn money as an Amazon affiliate:
- Amazon Associate: Anyone can be accepted into the Amazon Associates Program. Amazon associates include affiliate links for recommended products in their posts and earn a commission when someone makes a purchase after using their link. The affiliate links included in their posts send visitors to the corresponding product pages on Amazon.
- Amazon Influencer: Not everyone qualifies for the Amazon Influencer Program. It’s open only to select social media influencers who meet Amazon’s qualifications. Instead of including individual product affiliate links in their posts, Amazon Influencers can open a custom storefront, which they can easily promote nearly anywhere. For Amazon Influencers, setting up an Amazon business storefront that includes all of the products they recommend is likely to bring in more revenue than simply sharing individual product links on separate posts.
How Does Amazon Qualify Influencers?
Amazon used to require that influencers have large social media followings, but they emphasize that engagement rates are more important than the number of followers. So, micro-influencers—or even nano-influencers with only 1,000 followers—could become Amazon influencers if the account has a high engagement rate for a specific niche.
Amazon Influencers must also have an active social media account on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. However, they can promote their Amazon storefront link anywhere they publish content, including other social media platforms, blogs, podcasts, emails, and Facebook groups.
How Does The Amazon Influencers Program Benefit Brands?
By working with Amazon Influencers, brands have an alternative to the clutter and competition of the Amazon home page. Instead, the consumers who trust influencers to make product recommendations can bypass the Amazon product search bar and go directly to the Amazon Influencers’ storefront—credit cards out and ready to purchase your product. Using Amazon Influencer marketing is perhaps the most direct way to drive Amazon sales.
But one of the biggest benefits of Amazon Influencers may be that brands don’t have to contract with them to promote products, and they’re not responsible for paying their commission. Amazon takes care of all that and even gives its influencers access to the marketing tools they need to build an appealing storefront they can use for promoting your product.
How Can Brands Get Started With Amazon Influencer Marketing?
Even though brands are not involved in Amazon’s influencer selection process, that doesn’t mean they have to be completely cut out of the conversation. Your brand can search for current or potential Amazon Influencers and ask them to feature your products in their storefronts. Here are some ways to locate an Amazon influencer that will be a good match for your products:
- Navigate to the #FoundItOnAmazon page: This page features curated products from Amazon Influencers. Check out an influencer’s Amazon storefront and social media accounts to get a feel for the kind of engagement they generate and to see if your product may be a good addition to their store.
- Search Amazon Live: Type “Amazon Live” in Amazon’s search bar to see which creators are currently live-streaming. You’ll be able to see the number of people viewing each Amazon Live influencer and the type of engagement they’re getting right there on the page.
- Research your brand’s followers on social media platforms: You may find that some of your biggest fans are already selling on Amazon. And if they enjoy your brand, it shouldn’t be too difficult to encourage them to include your products in their Amazon storefront. Just be sure to prepare an outreach template to explain why your brand would appeal to their social media followings and help drive sales in their Amazon store.
The Amazon Makes It Easy To Use The Power Of Influencers
With its Amazon Influencer Program, the world’s largest online retailer has developed a way for everybody to win: Amazon, its customers, its influencers, and your brand.
Working with Amazon Influencers is like having a company salesforce that you don’t have to compensate. It’s an ideal way to build awareness and drive sales on the number one ecommerce platform without having to directly compete with millions of other brands on Amazon’s home page.